Banana Nutella Cake

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I’ve always found that while people can be very particular in their likes and dislikes when it comes to desserts, however bananas are pretty much universally consumed without any sort of hesitation.  And, they’re incredibly versatile.  I put them in smoothies, I eat them with almond butter and I relish using them in desserts.  Especially with, you guessed it, chocolate.  Even better?  Chocolate and Nutella.  This is, without a date, a cake worth the effort.

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I’m not going to lie to you all, I have always shied away from Nutella.  A little fun fact, Nutella came about during WWII, when there was a shortage of chocolate as cocoa was being heavily rationed.  Once I found out that Nutella was basically created as a substitute for pure chocolate, I was essentially put off for good.  However, some people (including my husband) love it.  You would have thought I’d told him we won the lottery when he found out it was an ingredient in this week’s post.

This cake is very sweet, very decadent and very addictive.  To help ensure you’re able to make it sooner rather then later, when you buy those green bananas that seem to be the only option at your grocery store throw and seal them in a brown paper bag and a day or two later you’ll have nice, ripe spotted bananas for your cake.  You can thank me later.

*recipe from Style Sweet CA

For the Banana Cake:
3 ripe bananas
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter and lightly flour two 6″ round pans.

Mash ripe bananas in a small bowl with a fork and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt until well combined. Set aside.

Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter until smooth.  Add sugar and beat on med-high until pale and fluffy (2-3 minutes).

With the mixer on low, add eggs one at a time, fully incorporating after each addition. Add vanilla extract.  Stop the mixer.  Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. With the mixer on low, add in half of the dry ingredients.  Mix in the yogurt or sour cream. Add in the remaining dry ingredients and mix until just combined.  Fold in the mashed bananas until combined.

Pour batter into prepared pans and bake until golden – about 22-25 minutes for the recommended size.  Place cakes on wire rack to cool for 10 minutes then turn out onto wire rack to cool completely.

 

For the Chocolate Ganache:
8 ounces chocolate – about 65% cacao
6 ounces heavy cream

Chop the chocolate and place in a heat-safe bowl.  Heat the cream over medium-low until it starts to simmer.  Be careful not the burn the cream!  Once it starts to come to a low simmer, pour over the chopped chocolate.  Let sit 30 seconds before whisking together until smooth.  Let cool before use.

 

For the Nutella Buttercream:
3 egg whites
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, cubed and softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup chocolate hazelnut spread

Place egg whites and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer.  Whisk until combined.

Fill a medium saucepan with a few inches of water and place over medium heat. Place the mixing bowl on top of the saucepan to cream a double-boiler.  Whisking constantly, heat the egg mixture until it registers 160 degrees on a candy thermometer. Carefully transfer the bowl onto the stand mixer.  Using the whisk attachment, beat the egg white mixture on high speed for 8 to 10 minutes until the bowl is no longer warm to the touch and the meringue is fluffy, glossy and holds a stiff peak.

Swap out the whisk attachment for the paddle.  With the mixer on low, slowly add cubed butter and mix until incorporated.  Add vanilla and chocolate hazelnut spread.   Whip on medium-high until silky and smooth, about 3 to 5 minutes.

NOTE: The buttercream may look like curdled or runny after adding the butter.  Keep mixing until it is completely smooth.

For the Assembly:
salted caramel sauce of choice
toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped

Slice cooled banana cakes in half, horizontally, to create four layers of cake.

Spread a layer of ganache on top of the bottom layer of cake.

Add a layer of buttercream on top of the ganache.

Place the second layer of cake on top of the buttercream and repeat.

Ice with the remaining buttercream.

Garnish with chopped, toasted hazelnuts – if desired.

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